February 8, 2011

BMW ‘Activates the Future’ as views on mobility and ownership evolve

Posted by: in North America

The idea of ownership is gradually becoming less desirable and, for things like homes and cars, more out of reach. “We’ve reached the limits of what George W. Bush used to call the ‘ownership society,’” writes professor Richard Florida, author of The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity. We’re shifting toward a Non-Commitment Culture (one of our “10 Trends for 2011”), which encourages consumers to cut costs while getting what they want when they want it by renting or sharing goods.

For automakers, this means consumers no longer feel they need to own a car in order to experience or benefit from cars. With the New Mobility Industry, one of our “100 Things to Watch in 2011,” forward-thinking automakers will experiment with new models focused more on moving people to their destinations than selling cars. Car2go from Daimler and BMW on Demand already offer mobility in lieu of ownership. And with its “Activate the Future” campaign, which consists of four short films, BMW is trying to demonstrate that it’s not only ready for the inevitable but thinking about myriad possibilities for mobility, from electric cars to jet packs, flying cars and teleportation.

The New City,” the first to be released, features interviews with several experts on urban mobility. Lawrence Burns, co-author of Reinventing the Automobile, asks, “Can the automobile as we’ve always known it really be compatible with cities of the future?” Viewers can share their thoughts on this and more via the site’s forum. Zipcar founder Robin Chase, also interviewed in the first film, gets at a key tenet for car companies today: “Everything that is rigid fails. And everything that can evolve and adapt succeeds.” By creating a conversation around mobility, BMW is positioning itself as a company that’s ready to adapt to a post-ownership world.

2 Responses to "BMW ‘Activates the Future’ as views on mobility and ownership evolve"

1 | SAul

February 16th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

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Thanks for the article. Just a quick note – Richard Florida did not write Bowling Alone. Bowling Alone is written by the great Robert Putnam and is a book about social capital.

2 | christine

February 16th, 2011 at 6:05 pm

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Thanks for the catch, Saul! That probably slipped in there when thinking of Florida’s other stuff – in particular his “The Rise of the Creative Class” where he talks about Putnam.

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